As an Indie Author – What are your challenges?


ChallengesAs an author, there are significant challenges. Finding original ideas and turning them into something interesting is a significant challenge. If you are a traditionally published author, you have to not only find an idea that interests you, but it has to interest your publisher as something marketable and viable so that they can make money. You also have to please your agent so that they will push your work on a publisher.

As an independent author, coming up with ideas, in my opinion, is the smallest hurdle to be faced. Because we are independent, we are free to publish whatever interests us and then take that work directly to the readers. One thing that indie authors discover quickly through social media, there are niche reader markets for just about every genre you can think of. If you like to right paranormal zombie western romance erotica, there will be a group that will read it.

My own genre, private investigator mysteries, seems to appeal to readers of a certain ‘seasoned’ age. That’s fine with me. I will join that demographic in the next ten years or so and these retiring baby boomers have time to read and money to buy books.

blood orangeI deviated from this genre for my terrorism thriller, Blood Orange, and found that, indeed, the demographics of the readers that favored this book changed. This is something that, as an independent author, I believe you can get away with by searching out the appropriate niche for your writing.

After landing on what genre you want to write in, there are many other challenges that the independent author faces. Becoming known is a significant challenge. When I first started out, I put my first book on Amazon and hoped for the best. My friends and family bought some and posted some reviews.

Marketing

At this early stage, I got some help from a self-proclaimed expert promoter of independent authors. I did get some traction from some of the things that this person helped me with. Interviews and reviews appeared on various blogs. I was interviewed on a podcast, and slowly but surely, my exposure grew a bit.

I soon found that the techniques that this person was using to help me gain exposure were easily achievable on my own. I gradually started to take these things on and found that my reader base continued to grow steadily.

reviewsGetting good, constructive reviews on Amazon and other platforms is a great start. It can be a slow process, however, building up a collection of reviews. One technique that helps is offering your book for free over a weekend. During my first giveaway, I had over 1,000 copies of my first book downloaded and I saw the reviews begin to grow. With the reviews came additional readers.

I want to make this blog post the first in a series that deals with the challenges that we face as indie authors. What I need are your ideas and feedback regarding the challenges that you’ve faced. One thing I learned early on is that I am not competing with my fellow indie authors. We are all in this together and can learn from each other.

So, let’s help each other. Let’s share challenges and ideas so we can grow as a community.

I look forward to your comments and feedback.

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29 thoughts on “As an Indie Author – What are your challenges?

  1. Valuable advice and food for thought Don.
    I once read the following on marketing/publicising ‘Ok. You’ve written your book. Now comes the hard part’
    A great deal of determination and effort is needed to break through the whatever ceiling/wall it may be.
    Has to be re-blogged.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really interesting topic, Don. I’d say one challenge that indie authors face is making sure our books are critiqued before they go out to readers. Whether you choose a critique group, hire an editor, use beta readers, or something else (or a combination), one pair of eyes is not enough. It’s important to step back from your work and make sure that trustworthy people help you make it its best.

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    • Very true, Margot. I edit books for other authors and I know how mistakes can slip through. I don’t trust myself to edit my own books. The brain helps your eyes skip over mistakes because it “knows what you meant”.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this article! publicity is still my weak point. I understand tools for marketing and I agree the more reviews we get the more publicity we gain however, It is still hard for me to find the influencers and get their endorsement. It is find to find opportunities to read the book or talk about the subject. it can be frustrating at one point. Please let me know if you have any advice for this part. Thank you so much!

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  4. Pingback: As an Indie Author – What are your challenges? – Written By Don Massenzio – Writer's Treasure Chest

  5. Hi Don, A good, worthy, post. As you know….I enjoy helping other writers and Chair for a group called Writers’ Ink (offspring INK SPOT https://www.writersinkspot.com – can be found on ABOUT FACEBOOK. INK SPOT is a seasonal ezine and the Spring issue will be out first week in March. We need very short stories, 6/12/50 word stories (with beginning, middle and end), book reviews, tips etc., (edited work should be sent to ks2rescue@gmail.com). Having been spoiled by mainstream publishers years ago, I now know how difficult it is to sell our self-published books. Interacting and helping each other, is the best way forward, plus offering a special ‘freebie’ on occasion,and personal appearances, maybe at libraries, and schools if writing for children. Onwards and upwards for your books, Don. You deserve it! Cheers. x

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  6. Great idea for a series of posts, Don. What problems do I face as an Indie author? How long have you got? Finding time to write. Getting people to sign up for an email list. Persuading people to write a review. Finding where people who read my genres hang out. Discovering how to use Goodreads efficiently. Cracking the problems if keywords…

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